Legislative Issue: American Shipbuilding

AMERICAN SHIPBUILDING IS a key issue Boilermakers continue to regularly champion, as shipbuilding and affiliated employment is integral to the Boilermaker work portfolio. Boilermaker advocacy has recently helped secure U.S. Government contracts at Fincantieri Marinette Marine and Philly Shipyards—both major Boilermaker employers.

Restoring U.S. Shipbuilding Capacity

Restoring our nation's lost shipbuilding capacity is essential to safeguarding our national security, providing good-paying jobs and ensuring consistent access to needed goods.

That's why the Boilermakers union has joined the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, in a petition campaign led by the United Steelworkers Union to implore policymakers in our nation's capital to support our fight to save our shipbuilding industry. 

Our nation is taking great strides toward rebuilding manufacturing and critical supply chains - now, we need to turn our attention to shipbuilding.

Learn more, and sign on to join IBB, IAM, IBEW, MTD and USW in the fight to save U.S. shipbuilding.

Find out more about Boilermakers and the shipbuilding industry.

The Jones Act

In addition to continued advocacy for budgeting to include U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard fleet work and government contracts that would employ union Boilermakers, the Jones Act is another shipbuilding issue important to the union.

The Jones Act is a federal law that regulates maritime commerce in the United States and requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned and operated by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The Jones Act is essential to American economic, national and security interests, and the U.S. Navy has made it clear: Repeal of the Jones Act would harm the U.S. ability to meet strategic sealift requirements and military shipbuilding needs.

America’s domestic shipping industry is responsible for nearly 500,000 jobs and more than $100 billion in annual economic output, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Transportation Institute. Labor compensation associated with the domestic fleet exceeds $29 billion annually with those wages spent in virtually every corner of the U.S. Every job in a domestic shipyard results in four additional jobs elsewhere in the U.S. economy.

So what is the concern? A small number of individuals and organizations support repeal of the Jones Act, which would allow foreign-built, foreign-operated, foreign-manned and foreign-owned vessels to operate on American waters. The result would be to take a core American industry, like shipbuilding, and transfer it overseas to nations like China and South Korea, which heavily subsidize their shipyards and play by their own set of rules. Additional losses would occur from the outsourcing of American shipping jobs to foreign nations. Particularly at a time of severe economic dislocation in the U.S., it makes little, if any sense to send American jobs overseas and undermine an essential American industry.

Key Boilermakers Messages to Senators and Representatives:

  • Oppose any effort to repeal or weaken the domestic-build requirements of the Jones Act, including rejecting efforts to exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act in any financial relief legislation.
  • Support budget requests for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard shipbuilding, and champion for work to be awarded where union workers are employed.